… says Govt looking at injecting local fundsGovernment is reviewing the operations of the Small Business Bureau (SBB) with the aim of simplifying the process in order to enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to access money.Minister of State, Joseph HarmonThere are also plans to provide local funding for the bureau.Minister of State Joseph Harmon, who made this disclosure during a visit to the community of Wales last Friday, explained that President David Granger called a high level meeting on Friday with the relevant Ministers present, and the bureau was among the issues that were examined.“The President called a meeting with some Ministers, including the Minister of Business (Dominic Gaskin), to examine ways in which we can provide financing. And we were looking at the Small Business Bureau (with a view to) change the way in which it is structured.“The funds of the Small Business Bureau are funds from the Norwegians. So then, for you to get that money, you have to go through (a process) a training programme; and then when you’re finished, you have to satisfy the requirements of the bank.”Minister of Business,Dominic GaskinHarmon revealed there are plans to review that arrangement, and for Government to inject some additional local funds into the programme. He said this would benefit small scale farmers and other startup businesses.“Minister Gaskin has been asked to look at that. Review it so that we can put some additional local funds into it, to make it easier for our farmers and individual business people to have access to small sums of money… maybe one, two or five million to kick you off,” Harmon said.“Apart from that, the Minister of Finance (Winston Jordan) would have announced in the budget that there is something for small businesses and starting up businesses – some $50million for youth entrepreneurship,” Harmon disclosed.Minister Jordan had in fact stated during his 2017 budget speech that the SBB would be extending its operations into educational institutes – to train students in entrepreneurship. He had also mentioned a competitive system being set up to have 10 students receive grants to start their own businesses.Besides that, Jordan had stated that the Micro and Small Enterprise Development (MSED) would continue its role in financing and training SMEs. He had also spoken of the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) programme.According to Harmon, Government is looking at the most effective ways to get any allocations in the budget to the communities for entrepreneurship.“I want to give you the assurance that at the level of the central government, it is attracting the attention of the Government and the President is concerned about this matter. And we are putting things in place so that the people can access these funds and create employment for themselves,” Harmon explained.The Small Business Bureau (SBB) is a semi-autonomous Government agency which was created to complement the Small Business Act No. 2 of 2004. It coordinates programmes for small business development, in addition to facilitating training for aspiring entrepreneurs.But there are issues about how effective the SBB really is. According to one Wales resident, he was sent by the bureau to a local bank in order to get a loan, only to ultimately be denied.Following the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (GCCI) Annual General Meeting (AGM), outgoing President Vishnu Doerga had expressed worry about allocations to SMEs. According to Doerga, there is also need for legislation to be created, where absent; or amended where present, in order to improve opportunities for investment.Last year, Guyana was ranked at 124 out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings. Jamaica, at 67, was the highest ranked Caribbean country. Economies were ranked based on their regulatory environments.
“I think it’s very important that we just put a safety net under our troops,” said Webb, a former Vietnam veteran and Navy secretary. The bill attracted three dozen co-sponsors, including Republicans Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Gordon Smith of Oregon. In July, a similar measure fell just shy of the 60 needed to advance, and additional Republicans said they were considering it. But momentum behind the bill stalled Wednesday after Sen. John Warner, R-Va., announced that he decided the consequences would be disastrous. Warner, a former longtime chairman of the Armed Services Committee, had voted in favor of the measure in July but said he changed his mind after talking to senior military officials. Without more Republican support, Democrats are unlikely to pass other war-related measures. In coming days, the Senate planned to vote on legislation by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., that would order combat troops home in nine months. Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said his bill would allow some troops to remain behind to conduct such missions as counterterrorism and training the Iraqis; he estimated the legislation, if enacted, would cut troop levels in Iraq by more than half.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! IRAQ: Measure that would regulate the length of troops’ tours fails to get 60 votes. By Anne Flaherty THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON – The Senate blocked legislation Wednesday that would have balanced the amount of time troops spent in combat, a blow for Democrats struggling to challenge President Bush’s Iraq policies. The 56-44 vote was four votes short of reaching the 60 needed to cut off debate. It was the second time in as many months that the bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., was sidetracked. In July, a similar measure fell four votes short of advancing. Failure of the bill was a sound defeat for Democrats, who have been unable to pass significant anti-war legislation by a veto- proof majority since taking control of Congress in January. Webb’s measure was seen as having the best chance at attracting the 60 votes needed to pass because of its pro-military premise. The bill would have required that troops spend as much time at home training with their units as they spend deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Members of the National Guard or Reserve would be guaranteed three years at home before being sent back. Most Army soldiers now spend about 15 months in combat with 12 months home.
Lionel Messi is now tied to Barcelona until the summer of 2021 Lionel Messi has agreed a contract extension which will keep him at Barcelona until the summer of 2021.The 30-year-old Argentina forward had been linked with Premier League sides Chelsea and Manchester City among others, but is now ready to commit his future to the club he joined at the age of 13.A statement released on the club’s official website, www.fcbarcelona.com, said: “FC Barcelona and Leo Messi have agreed on a contract renewal that will keep the Argentinian at the club until June 30th, 2021.“The deal will be signed in the coming weeks, when Messi returns to the team for pre-season training.”Messi, who made his senior debut as a 16-year-old in a friendly against Porto, has eight LaLiga titles, four Champions League wins and five Copa del Rey successes among his list of honours with the Catalan giants, and club officials are delighted to have secured agreement on another four years.The statement continued: “The club is very happy with both the renewal and the commitment of Messi, the best player in history, who has played his full professional career at Barca and has led the team to an era of extraordinary success, the likes of which has never been seen in world football.”Messi arrived at Barca from Newell’s Old Boys as a teenager in 2000 and made his first competitive appearance against Espanyol as a 17-year-old.He scored the first of his club record 507 goals – they have come in just 583 matches – against Albacete in May 2005 and has since claimed the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, more than any other player.However, the club which finished second to Spanish champions Real Madrid and bowed out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage last season is expecting much, much more from its star man.The statement added: “Leo Messi has since gone on to break just about every record and has become the greatest player in the world.“Now, at 30 years of age, Messi has completed 13 seasons with the first team and, with his new deal, will remain for a further four.“But Leo Messi will not stop there – the Argentinian is in one of the best moments of his career and still has a lot more left to give, which is music to the ears of all Barca fans who will get to continue marvelling at his greatness for at least another four years.” 1